Tag Archives | jenny attiyeh

Lydia Ratcliff: Vermont Farmer, Stubborn Survivor

I’ve decided to re-post this ThoughtCast program from July 1, 2009 because my friend Lydia Ratcliff died yesterday, February 13th, 2018. She fought COPD for over a decade, so she could remain involved in the life of her Andover farm, her friends, and the ideas and preoccupations which sustained her.

Note: this audio program was broadcast on WAMC and WGBH radio in Boston, and the audio program and slideshow were featured on NHPR.org.

Milking TimeAbout 40 years ago, farms were thick on the ground in Andover, a rural town in southern Vermont. Today, 75-year-old Lydia Ratcliff’s Lovejoy Brook Farm is the last working farm still in operation. But can it survive much longer? ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh grew up visiting Lydia each summer, listening to her tales, eating fresh corn and carrots from her garden, and watching the animals give birth, and grow old. On a recent visit to see Lydia, Jenny brought along her microphone …

Lydia Ratcliff is a survivor. She’s farmed her 90 acre plot of land in Andover Vermont for 43 years, and though she’s now come down with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, she still climbs on top of that tractor in hay season.
Does she offer a lesson for the rest of us? Does she represent the future of farming in Vermont, or is she one of the last of a dying breed?
Click here to listen (9 minutes.)

Posted on February 14, 2018 in a new podcast, Economics, Environment, Front Page
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Samuel Huntington — on Immigration and the American Identity

The remarkable rise of Donald Trump, fueled in large part by his determination to keep immigrants out of his Greatening America, has caused many to re-examine the key concerns of the controversial political scientist Samuel Huntington. His writings on immigration and American national identity seem today to be sad prophecies of what has come to pass. In light of last year’s headlines — extreme vetting for Syrian refugees, Presidential dithering on DACA, white nationalist riots — I decided to re-post my 2005 ThoughtCast interview with Huntington, who died in late December, 2008.

Note: This interview was broadcast twice on WGBH in Boston.

Sam Huntington
The eminent and provocative political scientist and prolific author, talks with ThoughtCast about what he sees as the threat to America’s national identity (and its founding ‘Anglo-Protestant’ culture) posed by large numbers of unassimilated Hispanics, legal or otherwise, living in the United States. His most recent book: “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity” has caused quite a stir. Huntington is also famous for an earlier work called “The Clash of Civilizations.” In this book, he argues that civilizations, not nations or ideologies, form the basic building blocks of future cooperation — and conflict.
Huntington, a longtime professor of political science at Harvard, is also a member of the editorial board of a new magazine chaired by Huntington’s former student, Francis Fukuyama, called “The American Interest.”
We discuss these topics in a half-hour interview while seated in the back yard of his home on Martha’s Vineyard — hence all those birds chirping away cheerily…

Click here: to listen (30 mins).

 

Posted on January 15, 2018 in a new podcast, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Immigration, Politics
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Lessons from a Former Failed Bid for the Presidency?

The press barely noticed former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith’s bid for the presidency in 2000, so entranced were they over the newly candid Arizona Senator John McCain as he crisscrossed Bob Smith’s state in the “Straight Talk Express.” But McCain fever was quickly quenched by the more conventional conservatism of Texas Governor George W. Bush once the race headed south. And what became of the dogged Republican Senator Bob Clinton Smith? Well, he hung onto his seat till 2003, in his own unique, aw shucks fashion.

When you watch this ThoughtCast interview, you’ll form your own impression of a candidate who didn’t make it — and you might also come away with some interesting hypotheses on how US Presidential politics has evolved (some would say devolved) since the turn of the century.

Click here: to listen (4:43 minutes).
 

Posted on November 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Front Page, Politics
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Al Gore, Reconsidered

Now that we’re faced with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel, it is tempting to ask, again: What if he’d actually won the Presidential election back in 2000? Remember when the century turned, the chads clung and hung, Florida was in Republican hands, and the Supreme Court ended up deciding the race in favor of the fortunate son of a former president? How many wayward chads would it have taken to give us 4 years of Al Gore, the “beta male” who wore sweaters in heather hues, and spoke calmly about the calamitous state of our global environment? For one thing, I don’t think we’d have pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. But what else might have — or not have happened?

I had the chance to interview the Vice President for NHPTV in the autumn of 1999, prior to the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Little did I know of what was to come, or I might have asked somewhat different questions.
I remember it was colder out than it looked, and Gore nursed a cup of coffee throughout the interview, while attempting to come off as well … approachable, like his two chief Republican opponents: the easygoing George W. Bush and the jubilant John McCain, who at the time was touring the state in his Straight Talk Express. More on that in the next post.
But in the meantime, let me know what you think of Gore, back in the Twentieth Century, before our continuum got torqued!

Posted on August 6, 2017 in a new podcast, Environment, Front Page, Politics
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The Hunt for Art Fakes with Tom Hoving

The inimitable Tom Hoving discusses art forgeries, and how to spot them, on ThoughtCast!

Tom Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, speaks with Jenny Attiyeh (reporting for WNYC TV, now off the air) about his book – and his career – spotting, and yes, falling for fakes.
False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes tells the story of many famous frauds, some of which made their way inside the daunting doors of the Met, the Getty and elsewhere, before being unmasked. In the process, Hoving sheds light not just on the rarefied world of high priced antiquities, be they fair or foul, but on his own mercurial personality.

Posted on May 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Art, Front Page, WNYC TV
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Revered New York Review editor Robert Silvers, R.I.P.

Note: this interview has been picked up by the public radio station WGBH, in Boston, and its sister stations WCAI and WNAN.

The venerable New York Review of Books was launched amidst a newspaper strike in the winter of 1963, and has continued unabated ever since. Devoted to intensive and nuanced coverage of politics, the arts, literature, science (and now movies and the Internet!), the paper, as it’s called, is considered to be the premiere journal of the American intellectual elite.
Robert Silvers, its longtime editor, who shared the post with Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006, spoke with ThoughtCast in the WNYC studios in New York.

Click here: to listen (40 minutes).

Note: Scott McLemee, who writes the Intellectual Affairs column each week at Inside Higher Ed, contributed an excellent question to the interview – thanks!

Posted on March 23, 2017 in a new podcast, Front Page, History, Ideas, Literature, Politics
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